Author Archives: mtnmoovr

But There’s No Snow!

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The BeBe Dye-aries

He was 3 ½ and finally at that age where he understood what Christmas was all about. Or at least that’s what I thought! When I woke him up that Christmas morning…..yes, I’ve actually had to wake up kids on Christmas morning….he took one look out the window and decided I had completely pulled his leg.

“Mommy, it’s not Christmas! There’s no snow!”

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He actually then attempted to crawl back into bed! Yep….not making that up. My 3 ½ year old child had to be coerced into traversing the stairs down into the living room where Christmas had exploded all over the place. His first “sign” of Christmas had failed. He had no reason to believe Santa had actually shown up because, well, how in creation would Santa’s sleigh traverse the dry, dead grass that covered our yard and everyone elses. He simply needed to see to believe.

Faith had yet…

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The “Perfect” Valentine……Really???

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I am a Valentine’s Day hum bug.   I guess it all started when I was a kid making Valentine boxes to sit on my 3rd grade school desk.   I rarely ever got as many Valentines as everyone else did.    But to not totally diss that class full of fellow 8 year olds, they may not have even known I was in their class.  I was so shy…I rarely spoke to anyone.

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Then there were all those horrific teenage Valentine’s Days.   You know the ones.    You really like him, but he really likes her.  And you’re not her.   In all my teen years, I remember getting a Valentine from a boy exactly once.   He got me a cute little stuffed bear I named “Buff”.   This boy liked me because I looked good in a bathing suit.     Ugh!

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Then there are the adult Valentine’s Days.  “Singles Awareness Days” are brutal.   All your friends have dates and you’re home alone with  a sappy movie and a gallon of Moose Tracks,thoughts of the perfect man running through your pretty head.      Even after we find Mr. Right and live out our days happily ever after with him, we often become painfully aware of Mr Right’s imperfections….(and just to be fair, he very likely becomes all too aware of our imperfections as well.)       I wonder if we are just hard-wired to always be seeking the perfect one  so that we’ll ALWAYS be seeking that Perfect One? Hmmmm…..

You know the one?    He’s truly perfect in every way.    And I don’t mean to brag, but y’all, I’ve found him and he’s taken a bit of the “humbug” out of my hard Valentine heart.   He’s mine and I am his.    At first glance, you may not think he’s all that…but let me assure you, he is truly beautiful!

He loves me just as I am…..flaws and all.    In fact, he proclaimed his love for me well before I did the same.   He pursued me like crazy and never gave up on me.  His love is relentless and pure.  He’ll NEVER give up on me…and I believe him.

And now that he has me, he hasn’t marked me off his list of “claimed pursuits”, pushing me aside for the next best thing. He will faithfully love me forever.    In fact, I’m not sure I’ll ever fully understand how deeply he loves me. He tells me all the time that nothing can ever separate us.   Nothing I do will ever make him  love me less.   He doesn’t care if I’m grumpy or hormonal or “look fat in that dress”.     He just loves me.

He always takes care of me….always.   He does this because I love him…but mostly because he loves me so much.    He’s the perfect provider and he never has to guess what I need.  He just knows.   He’s my “knight in shining armor”, keeping me safe and protected.    I feel so safe with him.

He’s compassionate and thoughtful and present.   He calls me a princess.   He makes me a better person….stronger, braver.

If He had been in my 3rd grade class, He would’ve stuffed the little box on my desk full of little heart shaped cards with Snoopy on them.   The “Yes” box would’ve been checked .

Quite simply, He’s the perfect Man.   Nobody will ever come close to His perfection.  He’s the best “Valentine” I’ve ever had or ever will have……and He can be yours too!

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You are AWESOME!

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Before he said a word , we knew.   The night hadn’t gone as well as he had hoped.    He walked in the front door just looking a bit down.  Not as much “pep in his step” as I’d come to expect after a performance.   My first thoughts were that he’d forgotten lines or the lighting or sound was bad.  Had he tripped on stage or done something else embarrassing?    So instead of assuming, we just asked…

“How was the show tonight, buddy?”

His response was one word…”Meh”.  Now that  word wasn’t a word when I was his age but it’s a word that , I guess, texting, Twitter or Facebook has made acceptable to use when things are just “so-so”.

So our next question was “What made it so “meh”?”

And his response was one that sorta took me by surprise.   “The audience was just dead!”    I don’t think there were zombies in the audience!  Though this group of young actors might have had more fun with that!   This audience was just totally unresponsive.  No laughter when lines were funny.   No clapping when clapping was due.   This particular audience just gave absolutely no encouragement at all.

A little encouragement given at the right time can change so much.       Just 24 hours earlier, this cast , having performed the same show, had a great encouraging audience.  Laughter and clapping abounded and this group of actors knew they were doing something well.

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“Now go out and encourage your men.  I swear by the Lord that  if you don’t go out, not a man will be left with you by nightfall. This will be worse for you than all the calamities that come on you from your youth until now.”…2 Samuel 19:7

This verse says a lot about the importance of encouragement.    In this moment, if encouragement was not given to the men, it was highly probable that the men would be gone before the day was over.    This would NOT be a good thing. In fact, losing these men because they didn’t go offer encouragement would be one of the very worse things that had ever happened to them.

Thankfully for me, the lack of encouragement on this night did not cause the cast of this play to throw in the towel and say “Just forget it!”    I was planning on seeing the show the next day!    And now my plan was to also include an extra dose of laughter and clapping!   You know what, though?   I didn’t need to pull out the big guns.  The show was fabulous!   Though small, the audience I sat in was very encouraging;  laughing, clapping and whistling in all the right places!    My momma heart was very grateful  for that .  Imagine my disappointment  if they had canceled the Sunday show due to lack of encouragement the previous night!!

So who do you know who could use a little dose of encouragement provided by YOU?  Look around.    See the cashier at the grocery store who just looks frazzled.    Tell her thank you for getting you through the checkout line so quickly.  If she wasn’t so fast, remind her how much God loves her.  Brag on your waitress to her manager then leave her a big tip.   I bet her feet hurt!   That child who is struggling to learn all the letters in her name…praise her for the letters she writes well.    The teenager who feels worthless…tell him how worthy he truly is.

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I’ve seen it time and time again.  When I encourage one thing a person is doing well, they start doing that one thing even better. But something else happens as a result of that encouragement .  Suddenly they feel more confident in their ability to do whatever comes next.    It’s a sweet thing to watch unfold!

If you are in need of some encouragement yourself right now,  here’s one little encouraging word.    God “don’t make no junk”!  You are perfectly wonderful and fabulous and well loved by your Creator.   You can do ALL things because Jesus is by your side….He is your strength.    You are worthy and able!!    I could go on but I said I had one word and well, I gave you 37!

So I’ll close , not with yet another encouraging word, but an encouraging song.     Encouragement is vital in our lives.  The very best Encourager I know is waiting to wrap His arms around you and lift you up and tell you He loves you…always!

But There’s No Snow!

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He was 3 ½ and finally at that age where he understood what Christmas was all about. Or at least that’s what I thought! When I woke him up that Christmas morning…..yes, I’ve actually had to wake up kids on Christmas morning….he took one look out the window and decided I had completely pulled his leg.

“Mommy, it’s not Christmas! There’s no snow!”

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He actually then attempted to crawl back into bed! Yep….not making that up. My 3 ½ year old child had to be coerced into traversing the stairs down into the living room where Christmas had exploded all over the place. His first “sign” of Christmas had failed. He had no reason to believe Santa had actually shown up because, well, how in creation would Santa’s sleigh traverse the dry, dead grass that covered our yard and everyone elses. He simply needed to see to believe.

Faith had yet to give him vision.

Four hundred years had passed. No word from God. No burning bushes. No parting seas. No visits from angelic strangers. Nothing. Zilch. Nada. This world was God-silent for 400 years. Y’all…that’s a L O N G time!! It’s many, many lifetimes. Many generations. I’ve gone through periods of my life where I felt God was ignoring me or wasn’t there…..but it was a period of a few months. Not years. I always managed to crawl my way back to Him only to find He really never left my side. During that 400 year period so many years ago, God was just silent. I can only imagine how the people during that time felt. And I don’t imagine it was pretty. How many let their faith completely fall because there was no evidence of God’s presence ? How many worshiped other things since God was not around? How many lead lives desperate for something more, something Bigger than them?

Faith needed to give them vision.

And I have to wonder, how did anyone manage to hang on to the faith of their predecessors with so many years of God silence? It would be so much easier to slip into the ways of the world and totally forget the things of faith.

But then it happened to a family who had somehow managed to not let too much of their world sneak in and damage their hearts. A family who had managed to hang on to their faith and find favor with God…

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“The time came quiet…

All the glory had been left in heaven.

And the face of God turns one last time in the waters of the womb, and the membrane breaks and the amniotic fluid leaks and the skin of God slips naked and small into holy hands He made.

The birth of God – who can find words?” ……(from The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp)

The years of God silence were broken by the cries of a baby. And our faith was given vision once again. Through a baby who would be King. A baby who would save. A baby whose life would show the world for the rest of eternity how to love…how to hope.

On this Christmas, know that whether there is snow on the ground or not, whether there are copious amounts of gifts under the tree for you or just one, whether you are surrounded by family or it’s just you, the only true sign of Christmas is all around us.

Emmanuel…God with us. God around us, waiting with open arms to lavish his love on you not only this Christmas but every…single…day!

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The Waiting Game

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“Men trust God by risking rejection. Women trust God by waiting.”
― Carolyn McCulley

Waiting.

I’ve been doing lots of that lately. And as I sat down to start writing about “waiting”, I did a little Google search to find stats on how much time we spend waiting in a lifetime. Didn’t find anything I liked there. But I did stumble across this quote. I have no idea who Carolyn McCulley is but I’ve learned she’s an author. I know nothing about her except that she penned this quote…this quote that struck me as so true at this particular time in my life.

Because you see, I’m waiting for something life changing to happen in my life right now. But you’ll have to wait to find out what that is! Because there are so many things in my life I’ve spent time waiting on that I need to ponder for a sec…

That first kiss…

The perfect man…

Love….

My turn to play….

The perfect job…

My turn to move forward in traffic…

My turn to be right….

Achieving a goal…

Being content…

Understanding and embracing all God created me to be and who I am in Him…

In all these things, I’ve waited. Oh I didn’t like the waiting in the moment. We want what we want NOW, don’t we? But eventually, all these things were achieved through the waiting. I’ve prayed for things in my life to happen and sometimes they do….God gives me a big old YES!! Thank You Lord! I’ve prayed for things to happen in my life and they don’t because God put the big “NO WAY” stamp on it. Thank You Lord……yes, I mean that!  (At least in retrospect! ) And I’ve prayed for things to happen that I’m still waiting on…

Waiting seems to last forever, doesn’t it?

My current period of waiting has lasted about 40 weeks and 3 days. Or in “pregnant time”, about 110 years! God put a big old YES on our prayers for another grand child and He put another big old YES on our prayers for a little girl to finally, once again grace our family. It’s been over 20 years since our family last welcomed a baby girl. This BeBe is sorta excited to add some pink things to my life!

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About 3 weeks ago, we began the “Oh she’ll be here any day now” dance. See, big brother came late in his 37th week so we all just assumed that lil sis would follow suit. But God has firmly put His “Let’s WAIT” stamp on Sis. Try as she may, my darling first born has been nothing but unsuccessful in every and all attempts at naturally inducing labor.

An essential oil known to speed up contractions all but stopped them…..see God is in control.

Walking did nothing but make her tired….because God is in control.

That famous Eggplant Parmesan that nearly guarantees the onset of labor in 48 hours was nothing but tasty…..because God hasn’t said it’s time yet.  (Click on that little blue link for the recipe if you want.  This is good whether you’re pregnant or not!)

The full, eclipsed, blood moon was nothing but a spectacular sight …because God said, “Not today”.

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So we’ve waited. And our trust in God has grown because try as we may, nothing in our bag of “stupid human tricks” will ever trump the all out power of God. When everything we do fails, all that’s left is trusting Him. And He’s trustworthy.

So in the waiting, I’ve looked for and have been doused with blessings…

Extra days with my grandson as the “only”…

More play time….

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The sound of my unborn granddaughters beating heart and the hiccups she got before the monitors came off….

Sweet time with my daughters….

Time to see healing continue and strength to get bigger…

A haircut in a taxi cab…..

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This list could go on. Yes, in the waiting I see God. And when I see Him…when I see evidence of His hand in my life…my trust in Him grows.

Waiting’s not so bad after all….

God Created FUN!

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One of my favorite things to do is go to a concert..any concert.  I love watching my sons band concerts.   I love high school chorus performances.   And ever since 1977, when I sat on the 14th row and swooned over Shaun Cassidy , I’ve loved sitting in crowded arenas in the dark watching my favorite artists perform under extraordinary light shows.   I just love concerts!

And now I digress for just a second because I must share a picture I just found from the 1977 Shaun Cassidy tour.  And I know these pictures are from THAT tour because I can remember the heart attack I about had when he appeared as a shadow behind that big round screen!   If my sister is reading this, I hope this image brings back happy memories of our very first concert!   And how FUN is it that we live in a time where I can simply type some words in a search bar and find THIS???…

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So back to the current subject at hand… I was very excited when we were invited to attend a concert with some friends last night.   It was a Christian concert with 4 different artists performing to benefit Water for Africa/blood-water.  Awesome cause and one that definitely tugged at my heart as they showed videos of African women walking miles to fill up their large buckets of water for the day.     Two of the artists who were to perform  were rather new, up and comers.   One I thought was a probably a “teeny bopper” band  simply based on their name!  The headliner was a band I’ve liked since the late ’90’s but had never seen in concert.   This would surely be good.

When we walked into the concert venue, it automatically felt different.   It was not  in a large, dark coliseum.  It was the gymnasium of a large Atlanta Christian high school.    Nice venue but it was very light.  Not at all like the darkish coliseums I was used to seeing concerts in .   That was #1 odd thing.   #2 odd thing was the crowd….it wasn’t.  Crowded that is.    I felt like I was at one of those high school band concerts.    As it drew closer to time for the show to begin, I panned the crowd and noticed how few people were there.  Then I immediately felt bad for the performers who would soon walk out to entertain us.   They’d SEE how few people were in attendance because it was , well, so light in there.     I hoped they’d still have fun performing for this very light crowd.

First guy to perform was great.   He serves as a worship leader in a large Atlanta church and his style of music was one I like.   Second performer was a young girl who reminded me very much of the character Scarlett on the TV show “Nashville”…just a girl and her guitar.   All quiet, simple praise and worship type music.   Then the mood completely changed…

After two very mild mannered, calm performers, the next band was a popular Christian  punk/ crunk band.  (What the heck is “Crunk” anyway??)  They came out with mini trampolines, crazy clothes, people in outlandish costumes parading and jumping around the stage and the biggest balloons I’ve ever seen.   The band members danced around like, well, crazy people.  I felt like I was at some crazy Zumba class!    How in the world would this small crowd of mostly 40 and uppers react to “crunk” music?    And will the image of many gray haired men and women “cranking their chainsaws” in the air ever leave my brain???

I have to say this band really left me confused!  They were suppose to be a Christian band and well, I heard chainsaws mentioned and wobbling.  But no mention of Jesus or God even .   Then they said it as if they  had just read the minds of every 40+ year old momma in the room……”God created FUN and we’re all about having fun.”   Oh …..’kay, now I get it!

But it left me wondering…..and I had a mission.   I was gonna go home and find every mention of the word “fun” in  the bible!  I couldn’t think of a single one off the top of my head.  And I do truly believe that God is creative and imaginative and fun.  I mean, just look around you!

So I pulled out my handy dandy ipad where I have YouVersion conveniently waiting for my every bible inquiry.    I would search the word “Fun” and find dozens of references I was sure.   And I did…..but it wasn’t exactly what I expected.   “Fun” was referenced dozens of times in many different versions of the bible but in a negative tone….”they make fun of me”…”having fun is crazy”…oh my gracious.   Lord help me because I KNOW you MUST endorse FUN!!   You created the beach and the mountains and music and food and so many other things we all consider fun!!  I just need one positive reference to “fun” and I can finish this little blog post…..

Then I found it ….yay!!   Ecclesiastes 8:15 (New Living Translation) says “So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink and enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them under the sun.”  

So whether your idea of fun looks like this…

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Or this…

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Just remember this…

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Because that really loud, energetic, crunk band was right!  God did indeed create fun!

That “Crazy Oil Lady”

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My hubster came home from his small group one night about a year ago with a tiny little amber colored bottle of something he called “essential oil”.  I can’t remember what it was but it was suppose to fix this pain he was feeling in his wrist.  I don’t remember if it helped it much or not.  I honestly didn’t pay that close attention because , well , that just seemed weird.  I automatically thought it wouldn’t work and didn’t think about it for another second.   

She was just a crazy oil lady…

I have pretty chronic belly issues.   I won’t bore anyone with the details of that but on another night, the hubster came home from this same small group with a bottle of oil that was going to help my stomach problems.   I’m not sure I even tried it.   Honestly, it just seemed like an odd way to cure a belly ache and well I was pretty sure I couldn’t be unfaithful to my tried and true stomach ache remedies.  

She was just a crazy oil lady after all…

It was a Thursday night early this past spring.   It was the first night my new small group was to meet.   About 2 hours before our group was to begin, I got a very uncommon migraine.   I rarely get these but as with most people who get migraines, I felt pretty awful. As much as I hated to do it, I sent a message to all my new group members postponing our first meeting to the following week.   Y’all want to know who one of my new group members was?   That “crazy oil lady”.   She immediately answered my text with “What’s your address?  I’m bringing you an oil for that migraine.”   And she did.   And it worked.  And now I’m thinking….

Hmmm…maybe she isn’t so crazy after all!

My curiosity was peaked.  In the weeks and months to follow, anytime I’d have an ache or pain or a sniffle, I’d wonder in the back of my mind if there was an oil to fix it.   So when I learned a few weeks ago that my oil friend  was loaning a bag of 10 different oils out to new potential customers, I sorta got excited.   I’d had a positive experience battling a headache.  After that I’d had a positive experience with an oil  fixing a stomach ache.   What would a bag of 10 different oils do?  I was looking forward to finding out.   

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In 7 short days, doTerra On Guard boosted my immune system and helped me not get sick after being sneezed on by multiple 2 year olds at VBS!  Frankincense shrunk a small cyst that popped up on my foot.   Breathe opened up my sinuses and caused me to breathe freely at night for the first time in ages.  It also created a quieter night sleep for me.  Lavender calmed me.   Peppermint and Deep Blue eased the pain in my back…it got rid of my sons headache.  DigestZen helped my stomach issues.   Honestly, I found something happening in that week…..

I … was … becoming … a …crazy …oil … lady!

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I’m not your typical natural, holistic type person.   I eat foods full of stuff that’s not good for me.  I don’t take vitamins like I should.  I don’t think about toxins or pollution or anything “earthy”.   I do own a NetiPot but that’s about as “holistic” as I’ve ever gotten … until now.  My first week with that “handy dandy bag of oil goodness” changed my way of thinking. There really is something to this oil thing!

You may notice a new tab in my menu.  I’m not changing the format of my blog or the stories I write and share.   But  I’ve added some information on doTerra Essential Oils to my blog.  I think it fits right in with my theme of LOVE, HOPE, and FAITH!   I have faith you’ll love these oils as they bring hope for a healthier you!         If you click on this new tab, you’ll be taken to my doTerra website where you can learn more about these amazing oils .   I’d love to help you discover the fabulousness of this product yourself so   I’ll be sporadically including posts about various “oily” topics as I learn more … sharing the experiences my family will have .   I hope you’ll stay tuned for more…

 

 

 

That House on Austin Drive

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In spite of how sweet and shy and timid I was as a child, I was still considered a brat.  An” Air Force brat” that is.   Seriously, where did that term come from?   It’s not very flattering is it?   Children in military families don’t need that bad rap!   I had plenty of other things to concern  my pre-teen self with other than the “brat” rep!   Things like how long it might be until my dad was transferred again?  Would I like my new school?  Would I have any friends there?  Would our next house be big enough for me to have my own room?  Would my old friends call me or write letters?   (For any youngsters reading this little blog post, a “letter” was something sort of like a text message or an email.   Except we used a pen or pencil and paper. Stamps and the Post Office were also involved, but I won’t bore you with those details right now!)  We moved alot and I had to consider these concerns often during my childhood.      We always lived in modest but very comfortable homes .   From the trailer park in Florida, base housing in North Carolina to that house on Austin Drive in Arkansas, each home held special memories.  But only one was my favorite.

That house on Austin Drive!  

Oh it was spectacular.   We moved into this house right before I turned 13….at least I think that’s how old I was.  I’ve slept a few times since then!   My first memory  in this house happened the day we moved in.   My parents had hired a moving company so strangers were moving our things.  As I stood in the foyer of the house giving directions on where this box should be placed and where exactly the master bedroom was, I overheard a conversation between two of the moving guys. The gist of the conversation was the enormous length of our back hallway.  It was indeed brag worthy!   After living in many smaller houses, we were finally living in a house with  4 bedrooms ! As far as I was concerned, this house was practically a mansion.  The hallway connecting those 4 glorious rooms was quite long indeed!   

My own bedroom!  Finally!!   After years of sharing a room with either of my sisters, I would finally have my own 4 walls on which to hang my Shaun Cassidy and Donny Osmond posters!   My own 4 walls in which to have private phone conversations with my best friend!  My own space to have dozens of friends over for slumber parties!   I wouldn’t have to clean up or even look at the mess my sister would leave because I had MY OWN FOUR WALLS!!!    

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The neighborhood was also nice.  There were actual 2 story houses on our street!  As an adult that sounds like a ridiculous thing to be excited about, but in my pre-teen mind, the existence of houses with more than one level in MY neighborhood meant only one thing.  We had “arrived”.   Even more proof of our “arrival” was our next door neighbor.  An English teacher from the high school I would soon attend  lived next door to us.  I could see her house from my bedroom window.   I ended up having my teacher neighbor for 10th grade English. She was the only person alive who made me appreciate Shakespeare! Thank goodness I liked her.  There could’ve been many awkward moments at home if I didn’t.   She was also the only person I knew at the time who knew a real live famous person. With my teenage obsession with teen idols and movie stars, this was a very impressive teacher fact for me!   This teachers “claim to fame” was that she taught Mary Steenburgen 10th grade English.  Of course, I stole her claim to fame and now it’s mine.  Have you heard?  Mary Steenburgen and I had the same English teacher!   I still think about that whenever I see her in a movie.  And yes, I do still annoy my family with the no longer new news that Mary and I have something in common!  It doesn’t take much to impress this girl!

I’ve long since moved away from that house on Austin Drive.   I haven’t laid eyes on it since we moved away in 1979.   So out of curiosity, I plugged  my old address into my Google search bar .  And there it was.  Can houses take bad pictures??  Because what I saw wasn’t near as glorious as I remembered it being in the late 70’s. The front of the house was hidden behind large trees.  The bald spots in the front yard would have my parents gracing the front door of Home Depot quicker than I could say “Hey did you hear…” The landscaping was not as beautiful as I remember. The door wasn’t the right color.  So many differences from what my teenage eyes saw.

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Memories get fuzzy, don’t they?   Perspectives change.  As I look at the reality of that beloved home 35 years later, it’s still a nice home.  The family who lives there now is blessed.  But it’s not the mansion my preteen self thought it to be.  I wonder if God was working even back then on giving me a desire for a “mansion”.   Was he filling me with HOPE that one day I would indeed grace the steps of my very own mansion?   

John 14:1-2 (KJV)  talks about this...”Let not your heart be troubled;you believe in God, believe also in Me.  In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so , I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you.”   

I’ve lived in many nice homes throughout my life but in first world views, not one of them has been a mansion.   Yes, my soul longs for that mansion I’ve been promised and I do believe one day I’ll be there.   Will it have Shaun Cassidy posters hanging on the wall?  Will my friends join me there for parties?   Will the hallway be extra long?   Oh I hope so….

Well, I’ll be OK if the Shaun Cassidy poster is missing!   

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Give and Take…A Conversation with The Man Upstairs

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I once was a little Catholic girl who loved playing church on Sunday afternoons with my sister. A plain, ice cream cone…hold the ice cream…made fabulous communion wafers. I guess we’d take turns being the “priest” serving each other and saying the words we had long memorized. I’m sure we sang “Kumbaya” when we were done but I can’t be sure of that. I did love a little “hippy folk music” back in the day!

 

I had a period where I longed to go to Catholic school. I think I liked their uniforms. I was also fascinated by The Flying Nun and pictured all the nun teachers being just like Sally Field. Wouldn’t that have been sweet? Besides, I was such a good girl I had no fear of big, mean nuns blasting my knuckles with their extra long rulers of torture. Sadly for me, the Catholic school thing never happened. I also had visions of becoming a nun but this little fantasy clashed loudly with my desire to have a large family one day. Fast forward many years and I now have 5 kids…the nun thing never happened either.

 

In spite of my fascination with all things Catholic and religious as a child, I really have no memories of praying a lot. If God and I ever had any convos during my younger days, they might have gone something like this…

 

Hello My sweet little Princess. I am God and I love You.”

 

“Ummm, now I lay me me down to sleep? God is great God is good?”

 

I had no clue how to pray unless I could read it from a book. Original words to pray never, ever came to me…ever.

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I once was a young woman in my 20’s who still loved God , still enjoyed church…though I did go through a phase of trying life without God. That didn’t work out well for me, by the way. I stepped away from the Catholic church and planted myself firmly in a Methodist congregation. I took my young daughter to the nursery most every Sunday while I sang in the choir and played a mean hand bell. I went to Sunday school when I could get up and dressed in time. But you know how it is with young children. Mom gets dressed and ready. Then it’s baby’s turn. You feed her, bathe her and get her dressed. Right as you’re about to walk out the door, baby barfs all over you and herself. You change everyone’s  clothes but as you’re doing this,  baby gets that scrunchy red face that means only one thing. Then you smell it. And well….I was lucky to get to my place behind my C bell before I had to ring it!

 

In spite of how holy I was with all that church choir singing and bell ringing, praying was still not the most comfortable part of my day. When God and I had conversations back then, they might’ve gone something like this…

 

Hello again My precious Daughter. I’ve loved you since before you were born. Like an open book, I’ve watched you grow through all the stages of your life. I have prepared great things for you my Princess. When you call on Me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen.”

 

“Ummm, Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come …and all that. Ummm, God bless my family and friends. Ummm, thank you for this day. Ummm and God, please don’t let that guy over there call on me to pray out loud!! I may burst into tears if he even looks my way! “

 

Breaking out of my memorized, rote prayers was still difficult. And scary. And the thought of praying in front of people like those Sunday school teachers made me want to hurl!

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I once  was a young woman somewhere in my 30’s, fed up with prayers written by someone else . Mesmerized by the beautiful words I would hear others pray, I was still mum with my own frilly, pretty, poetic prayer words. Why would anyone want to hear my prayers when that person over there prays so beautifully? So I guess I must practice. It might’ve sounded something like this…

 

Oh Father as You sitteth on Your holy throne in heaven, be pleased to look downeth upon us, thy faithful servants and bestow us with thy most holy of blessings. Let your love poureth out on us like rays of thy most holy sunshine. …”

“And who exactly is this? You don’t sound like yourself today Child. Don’t be tempted to role play before Me. Just be yourself. There is no formula or program or technique for getting what you want from Me. Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Daddy you’re dealing with here and I know better than you what you need. Because I love you so much, you can pray very simply…in your own words. “

 

Really? But my words are so goofy sounding. And You! You are so awesome. I want my words to be right and intelligent and beautiful and meaningful…..”

Oh my sweet girl, they will be as long as they come from your heart and not the mouth of someone you deem more righteous in prayer! I want to hear from YOU! YOU!! Speak to me as if I’m you’re friend, because I am! “

 

Again, really? Have you heard me stumble through conversations with FRIENDS? You’re GOD!!  I guess I’ll try this because You , God, really are quite fabulous. I really do love You…ALOT! I’m so thankful for all You’ve done for me. I can’t imagine allowing my son to die for the sins of the world, yet that’s exactly what You did! For ME! Wow God! I’m humbled and amazed by You! Thank You for loving little old me in spite of everything. I trust You and believe You! In Jesus’ sweet, holy, and oh so precious name… So Daddy, how was that? Did I sound OK?”

 

Oh you precious thing! I do believe you’re starting to get it ! I love you so!”

 

Awww…I love You too!”

Disclaimer: The words of God were not actual words I ever heard from God. But I did take some from The Message version of the bible.  And I took some from my own crazy head…this is what God sounds like to me 🙂

 

 

 

 

Serial Killer Part 3…Trust Me!!

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It actually started the weekend before. The feeling that something I might not understand was about to go down. That pull to trust and just go with the flow. It came through songs, through radio messages, through a study I was doing. I had no clue why this feeling was so strong…I really just wanted my dumb ears to stop hurting so bad! I wasn’t really in the mood for a weekend retreat. I wasn’t in the mood to try and figure out why I kept getting this “Trust Me” message over and over. I wasn’t in the mood to be my sweet normal self around friends, old or new. I just needed this ear infection to go away. I was plagued with these babies all the time. In fact, if I had BEEN a baby and not a grown woman in my mid 30’s, I’m sure I’d have needed tubes in my ears. It was bad.

But I stood there on that Saturday afternoon in a room full of strangers. Strangers who I considered in my narrow minded, ear infected attitude as being “odd birds”. No, they didn’t do things like I did. They raised their hands and closed their eyes when they should’ve been sitting politely with their hands in their laps. They shouted out “Amens” and “Halleluiahs” when they should’ve been quiet and listening . Some of them even spoke in words I didn’t understand…out loud in front of people! It was pure craziness in my mind. This former Catholic girl had never experienced “church” like this before and I wasn’t even AT church. I was at a conference where a well known Christian speaker was doing her best to help us know and love Jesus a bit better. If I hadn’t been with a couple of good friends who were actually enjoying this crazy conference, I would’ve taken my sick little self right on home! But I endured as best I could for the sake of my friends. Plus I had to admit, I DID like the music…the one saving grace in the midst of a bunch of stuff I just wasn’t sure about.

Something WAS about to happen and God had been preparing me for this moment for years.

When I stepped out of myself for the first time and made that God-lead trek across the country, something changed in me. That “do whatever YOU want” attitude died a bit. As I became more aware of waiting for and listening to God’s voice in more and more situations in my life, another thing changed. I realized that all the fears I had embraced in my life weren’t doing me any favors. Most of the fears I had were big fat lies. As I began to learn to move away from that all consuming fear and watched it begin to die in my life, something else began glaring at me. Something else I realized no longer had a place in my life…..

…the box I had so neatly kept God in all my life…

He was about to burst out whether I wanted Him to or not. God was about to let me know loudly and clearly that His time in my box was over.

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We broke for lunch. I was seriously hoping my friends would be ready to go home. I was trying so hard to be strong and not let this ear infection win but sadly, the pain was winning and I’d had enough. Plus I knew that what was happening after lunch at this conference might be more than I could take. I wanted to leave. They wanted to stay because they were actually excited about what was going to take place that afternoon. Healing services were awesome. I didn’t buy it. But I had no car or other means of escape so I was more or less forced to stay.

The lights went down. The music started. I stood there with my arms crossed, so uncomfortable just THINKING about this healing service that was set to begin after the music was over. I started sweating, breathing harder. The anxiety was getting to me. Then I noticed something odd going on center stage…music still playing, people still singing.  It distracted me from my bad attitude.  The speaker at this event walked up to one of the musicians and was whispering something in his ear. I was sure it involved letting him know it was time to get the snakes out or something. But it was nothing like that at all. The band stopped playing mid song to let us know what was going on. It was a simple song change suggested by the conference speaker. She was sure that God wanted this particular song played for a particular person in the crowd. OK…whatever! But then the song started.

It was a tune I had learned the previous weekend … a tune I had never heard before and was CERTAIN our music chick had made up herself. The tune was set to the words God had been banging into my head ALL..WEEK…LONG! I wish I could sing it for you now or even find a YouTube video of the song but this tune was so random I’m not sure it’s ever been recorded. The words,however, are well known….

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on thine own understanding. In all you do, acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path.”

OH…MY…GRACIOUS!!!

My mouth dropped to the floor. Tears sprang from my eyes!

He had my attention. I opened up the box lid…..but just a smidge.

Still kinda shaken from this simple song, I’m not sure I even realized the THING I was not wanting to be there for had started. One by one, she began to call out ailment after ailment. People ran to the stage to be healed. I was CERTAIN it was all a sham. I felt myself reaching in to close that lid on my God box….it’s funny how quickly I went from “Oh my gracious God just changed that song for ME” to “Oh no You don’t” and slamming the lid again.

But then it happened. That thing that would forever smash the box I’d kept God in forever.

She said it loudly. “Ear Infections” Oh no she didn’t! I WAS NOT going to move from my spot on the back row and be put on display . I stood there , arms crossed once again. But my friend next to me had a bigger faith than I did. She knew I wouldn’t budge so she did something so simple. She reached out and placed her hands on my ears while the room prayed for those suffering from ear infections. And in that moment, I felt it.

The box collapsed with a single POP in my ear.

In that one moment, , my resolve to be hard headed, unchanging and stubborn fell to the floor. If my resolve to keep God in a box had been a real physical thing, the building would’ve shook when it fell from me!

After being ridden with one infection after another, I can say I haven’t had another ear infection since that day. God took away my pain and healed my ears but He did something way bigger that day. He forever escaped the box I had held Him in my entire life.

Y’all God is so much bigger than we ever give Him credit for. He can do so much more than we can ever imagine. As I end this three part “Serial Killer” series, THIS is the most important thing I’ve lost and never gotten back. I lost my little image of God. I’ve lost the fear of allowing God to be BIG! I lost that stubborn resolve that caused me to dictate what God could and couldn’t do in my life. This is how He got my attention. I’d love to hear your own “God is bigger than this box” story if you’d like to share it.

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